Thursday, December 25, 2008

Poo (Movie) 2008

A head turner - had a sense of watching a true rural movie after a long time (since Bharathiraja, and yes - ParuthiVeeran is of a different genre!) Vijay from the fraternity agrees.

Unexpected script. Sasi has shown some real class here and there. (for instance, the scene where the sad father looks at three characters from the entrance to his house, each look conveying volumes of script).

Its definitely not a tear jerker - and I didnt feel the movie dragging as many reviews did or as my friend complained '25 years late in Tamil cinema'. The clue I think lies in the child-like debutant actor Parvathy and her skillful acting. She carries the film on her slender shoulders easily - she literally appears on every frame. The variety of emotions that she depicts makes it a rare performance for any actor in recent Tamil film history, let alone debutants. Brilliant cameos by the guy acting as Srikant's father and other minor role playing actors. Srikant has a rather forgettable role.

The biggest let down in the movie is the music - a subject as fresh as this deserved a better score!

Spoilers ahead-
Now, the topic could easily be classified as a mushy young love tale. But it is not - there is more to Mari's tale. An upwardly mobile society where lower middle class families fight traditional village bonds in their quest for 'the next higher social level'.

Sasi gives the viewers the full sense of impending gloom right from Mari's child like love by leaving no room for suspense. Thangarasu's father is willing to upset his sister to marry off his son to a wealthy family because he feels that society has no respect for 'hard work or grey hair'. Mari's happens to be one of the hearts that get broken under the Juggernaut of progress of the Indian middle class.

This extraordinary chase for the 'next higher level' is reflected in the father's pain when he hears that his son's salary is not going to be as high as he expected.The tragedy that happens when the best laid plans fail to yield happiness is not the tragedy of Mari alone, it is of an entire Indian middle class.

Another aspect is the hidden sea of emotions with which each main character enters matrimony. Thangarasu, Mari and the new wife of Thangarasu all three enter wedlock with a sea of hidden emotions that their other half could not have guessed. This proves to be their doom. The best laid of plans of men and mice...

Monday, December 22, 2008

Why I unfollowed Guy Kawasaki

Recently I stepped in to the world of twitterers and their tweets. I linked to Guy hoping for some of glimpses of his opinions. Don't mistake me - I still hold 'The Art of the Start' to be the bible for anyone even THINKING of starting ANYTHING. But he really pissed me off.

Its not the inane self centered tweets ('I am late to work again' etc.) that characterises Guy's twitter persona. He mostly tweets about 'almost interesting' outside links ('Top 10 this-that') that are hard to classify in to a particular category.

Two reasons -
1) The sheer volume of tweets - like a burst of enemy machine gun fire within the space of a few seconds, crowding out tweets from everyone else. This one borders on plain bad manners.
2) His constant pitch for his latest venture, AllTop in his tweet-bursts. I checked that out once - and I am not interested.

Wonder how he has so many followers on Twitter. Guess people have lots more patience than I do.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Recession is Good?

I cannot believe how the US economic think tanks are still in denial about their failed corporations - They still do not get the fact that the failed corporations (e.g. Lehman, AIG) failed for a reason - bad management. They are too much identified with the problem and taking it personally. They still talk about investor confidence and the public not being ready 'to handle a catastrophe' unless the Govt steps in and helps rescue these corporations (e.g. auto makers). This is not even feigned socialism, this is just their failure to accept the current situation with their judgment clouded by super inflated images of themselves. Somebody at the helm needs to set an example and accept failure gracefully - can the President elect do it ?

Schiff puts it beautifully - recession and loss of jobs is nothing but the market forces adjusting themselves. True, loss of jobs are painful. But one can't celebrate freemarket capitalism till yesterday and shed tears about job loss in the economy the next. Recession is good. It will free up capital and resources and offer them to a better management to take up the reins and for the economy to flourish. If handled well, the US could come out of this recession with top-class corporations making the best products and services within a few years replacing the likes of GM. I think of it like the body having a high temperature or fever to flush out antibodies. One feels that the sooner this sinks in and the Govt starts acting accordingly, the sooner and less painful the recovery will be.

Combined with the perspective of Perot on the fiscal policy of US (, I am convinced that a period of conscious recession (conscious is the key word here) will do the US economy a great deal of good and will show to the rest of the world its maturity as a free market economy. Trying times for Uncle Sam!

Friday, December 05, 2008

Did NDTV kill NSG commandos?

A few days of 'HOT' live news, 'We condemn..' press releases (interestingly by politicians and bigwigs who kids are all safely abroad away from the terror-stricken streets of metros), center spreads and editorials about the resilient spirit of India in general and Mumbai in particular. A society desperate to find victory in the sacrifices of a few heroes to relieve the pain from the appalling failure of the overall establishment.

On the other side of the fence, a mirror image of facts being reported but with the same underlying emotions. The Pakistani media accuse India of pretty much the same things that the Indian & world media have done of Pakistan (i.e. blood thirsty fundamentalists, seek an enemy in our country to hold their country united etc. etc.) But the Pakistani media has stooped to newer depths leaving the Indian counterparts far behind, that it outrages even one's normal sense of professional press conduct, leave alone ideals like nationalism. A 'zionist' plot by Indo-Israeli intelligence to target Pakistan? Within just hours after the incident when even details, let alone evidence was awaited ? - Seriously dude, this is stretching journalistic license like India rubber !

A blind upsurge of right-wing views immediately all over - and the vociferous call for Indians to be 'mard' while letting our sanity be hijacked by harmones. The Government establishment of course has a long way to go to address the question of terror.

Meanwhile, of great interest has been the activities of the media - which scavenged the attack sites to lick the last human bone of the victims to squeeze the last drops of juicy sound bytes for viewership - to put it very mildly.

Barkha Dutt came out with self-righteous anger at the allegations levelled against NDTV ('the last succour for justice to the common man' etc. etc.) All she does in her defence is leave the blame at the Govt's door after saying it is 'grossly unfair and saddening' to be left at NDTV's door. Come on! its like saying 'I technically did not break any rules because the Govt. hadn't the sense to put any!'

The NSG has a different opinion obviously and has alleged that the media coverage caused significant damage to their operations including the life of one of their commandos.
I hate what NDTV has done in this case - with all due respect to them being the last recourse for justice in this country blah blah blah... in the end they have proved they are another bunch of TRP-crazy madmen with no sense of responsibility in a situation that requires sensitivity and humane handling.

On the larger question of terror - lets just say, quo vadis India, Mr. Chidambaram?